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Posted in on Thu, Jun 29, 2006

DES PLAINES, IL (June 29, 2006) – As millions of Americans celebrate the July 4, 1776, adoption of the Declaration of Independence this year, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urge people to be aware of safety dos and don’ts involving fireworks. The 4 th of July is also a day of reflection, where we remember the veterans and those fighting now in other countries.

The members of the ASSE Fire Protection Branch are urging fellow members, their families and the public to be aware of ways to enjoy consumer fire works safely, and, of the federal and state laws involving the use of fireworks.

“We have a lot to be thankful for this July 4th,” ASSE President Jack H. Dobson, Jr., CSP, said today. “If we are aware of and follow firework safety guidelines everyone can enjoy a safe and happy holiday instead of spending it in the emergency room.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) five states ban fireworks by consumers – DE, MA, NJ, NY and RI—while the other 45 states and the District of Columbia permit some or all consumer fireworks. In many states you must apply for a municipal fireworks display permit, usually from the fire department, if planning a supervised public fireworks display.

In addition to the local permit, there is a federal requirement for a public fireworks display. Effective May 24, 2003, a permit is required from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) to contract for, purchase or receive display fireworks.

In many states, such as California, illegal fireworks are described as those that explode, rise in the air or move about the ground or any fireworks not approved and labeled “Safe and Sane” by the state Fire Marshall. These can include, such as in California, skyrockets, bottle rockets, roman candles, sky rockets/mortars and cherry bombs.

Each year in the U.S. more than 10,000 people are treated at hospital emergency rooms for firework-related injuries with burns as the leading type of injury. Contusions and lacerations were second. Many suffer eye injuries. According to the NFPA children aged 5-9 face the highest risk of firework injuries. Sparklers, which can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees, are responsible for most injuries involving children under the age of five.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recent analysis of data on firework-related deaths and injuries during 2005 in the U.S. more than twice as many males were injured as females; children and young adults under 20 had 55 percent of the estimated injuries (there were a total of 10,800 firework-related injuries in 2005); firecrackers were associated with the greatest number of estimated injuries at 1,700, and rockets and sparklers were associated with 1,100 injuries each; hands, eyes, the head, face and ear are injured the most; more than half of the injuries were burns; and, of those patients treated at emergency rooms, five percent were treated and transferred to another hospital for treatment, admitted or held for observation.

The ASSE Fire Safety Branch recommends that people enjoy fireworks at a Fourth of July public fireworks display. Many communities provide additional amenities such as concerts and children’s activities to enjoy along with the firework display. Check with your local fire department or town hall for the firework display nearest you.

If using consumer “safe and sane” fireworks ASSE recommends that you: 1) always have an adult present; 2) only buy from reliable fireworks sellers; 3) only ignite fireworks outdoors; 4) have water available – i.e. in a bucket, a hose; 5) never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks; 6) light only one at a time; 7) never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks; 8) never give fireworks to children; 9) store fireworks in a cool, dry place; 10) dispose of fireworks properly; 11) never throw fireworks at another person; 12) never carry fireworks in your pocket; and, 13) never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest and largest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its 30,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education. For more information check ASSE’s website at, or the NFPA at, the CPSC at or the American Pyrotechnics Association at

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